New York State Conspiracy
Just like with federal law, New York has a set of conspiracy laws. And just like with federal law, New York's conspiracy laws are legally complicated and they can carry significant punishment. Therefore it is imperative that you contact a New York City conspiracy crime lawyer if you are the subject of a conspiracy accusation. As a former Manhattan prosecutor, John Buza is very experienced and knowledgeable in this difficult area of the law.
The New York conspiracy laws are codified in Penal Code Article 105. Although these laws work in a fundamentally different way in the federal system than they do under New York law, the basic idea of "conspiracy" is very similar. Under New York law, a person is guilty of the most basic form of "conspiracy" when "with intent that conduct constituting a crime be performed, he or she agrees with one or more persons to engage in or cause the performance of such conduct."And just like with federal conspiracy laws, if the government is accusing someone of conspiracy, it must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one of the conspirators committed an "overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy."
Conspiracy, in its most basic form, is Conspiracy in the Sixth Degree, which is a class B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 90 days in jail. However, as you add aggravating factors, you increase the level of Conspiracy and applicable sanctions can become significantly more severe. For example, a person is guilty of Conspiracy in the First Degree when "with intent that conduct constituting a class A felony be performed, he, being over 18 years of age, agrees with one or more persons under 16 years of age to engage in or cause the performance of such conduct." A person convicted of Conspiracy in the First Degree can receive a life sentence. An example of Conspiracy in the First Degree, would be a situation in which two people make an agreement to murder someone and someone engages in at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement. The basic gist of the way the law works in New York courts is the degree of conspiracy increases as the severity of the underlying conduct increases. The severity of the sanctions associated with the conspiracy law tend to be a degree lower than what the sanctions would be for the underlying conduct. For example, if the underlying conduct that encapsulates the agreement is itself a class B or C felony, then the appropriate level of conspiracy would be Conspiracy in the Third Degree, which is a class D felony. This sounds confusing, but it is relatively straight forward in application. For example, if two people make an agreement to commit a second degree robbery, which is a class C felony, then they are committing third degree conspiracy, a class C felony. Obviously, if the robbery is completed, then they'd be guilty of that robbery as well as the conspiracy to commit it.
Just like U.S. Attorney Offices throughout the county, New York state prosecutors are aggressively pursuing conspiracy charges in cases in which they historically have not in the past. Whether the state and local prosecutors will have the same level of success that Federal prosecutors have had remains to be seen because the laws are different. However, they certainly are trying to emulate the models adopted in federal jurisdictions.
Conspiracy accusations have the potential to be very serious. John Buza is an experienced New York criminal defense attorney. As a former Manhattan prosecutor, he has a lot of experience in the intricate laws of conspiracy. If you, or a loved one, is accused of any subsections of New York's conspiracy laws, do not hesitate to contact him for a free consultation.